There is not a National Opera company in Dubai, but visiting opera performances provide a varied programme of events. A new opera house, designed by Baghdad-born architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, has been announced, although construction dates have yet to be confirmed. When complete, it will accommodate 2500 people and it is to be located on a man-made island in the Creek area.
Dubai has a selection of theatres and amphitheatres:
Visitors wanting to learn more about the history of Dubai will find Dubai Museum (+971 04 3531862) fascinating.
Housed in the Al Fahidi fort, one of the oldest buildings in Dubai, it is located in Bur Dubai behind Al Fahidi St.
The museum contains exhibits of weapons, traditional costumes and musical instruments and in the courtyard you will find good examples of ‘arish huts and wooden boats. The new underground section of the museum houses wonderfully lifelike exhibits of an ancient souq, a quran school, typical Arabic households and an oasis. There is also a display on the desert by night with interesting local wildlife. A separate room is dedicated to lively modern exhibits of pearl diving and fishing. Archaeological finds are displayed near the shop. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Fridays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House (04 3937139). The house was built in 1896 as a residence for the ruling family. The traditional coral-block structure has four elegant windtowers and a large central courtyard. Carved teak wood doors, wooden lattice screens and balustrades have all been restored to their former glory.
The house now contains a photographic museum, providing a fascinating view of old Dubai. Open 8.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily., Fridays 3.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.
Next door you will find the Heritage and Diving Village (04 3937151), featuring reconstructions of Dubai’s maritime past and pearl diving history.
Displays include a tented bedouin village with traditional weapons, chests and household utensils. Shops sell handicrafts and camel and donkey rides are sometimes available. Folk dance and music performances are staged from time to time.
The village boasts a number of cafeterias and a seafood restaurant. Opening hours are Saturday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.